It’s important to keep an eye on fertilizer used on our local farm lands so we know what could be leaking into our wells

January 11 – Let’s talk about what happens to waste in food and animal processing. 

This may not be the most appetizing topic of conversation, but it’s important, particularly to the safety of our wells. 

Food Processing Residuals are what comes from substances not used in meat, fruit and vegetable processing companies. It’s organic food and animal waste that could still contain some harmful bacteria. 

Sometimes FPR is used as fertilizer on farm lands. 

If the situation isn’t handled correctly, some of that can end up in residential wells. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM explained, “There’s been a big push by environmentalists to not allow organic waste to end up in landfills. Part of the solution for that is we’re going to start processing this waste and we’re going to do all kinds of good things with it. We’re going to make organic energy with it. We’re going to spread it on farm fields because it’s great fertilizer, and we’ll feed it to animals because that will be good. This is a way that we don’t pollute our landfills. There’s unintended, maybe unintended negative consequences that we’re facing with that, that being this stuff smells terrible when you spread it on fields. The chicken manure apparently, this is way worse than that. People say it smells like death. Now, maybe there’ll be some farmers who say I use it. It’s great. I know the farm behind my house that’s twice a year they do this, but apparently some places people are seeing this happening way more than twice a year. In some places they’re becoming very concerned about truckloads and truckloads, this is what they’re reporting of stuff being brought in.”

West Pennsboro Township is looking into this right now, but Antrim Township also had discussions recently about the issue. 

Jansen said, “DEP was brought in. DEP said there were violations because it has to be regulated and remember every place you have any place where there’s animals being slaughtered for use, there’s going to be residual product. Slaughterhouses have stuff left over that isn’t processed.”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman added, “I think it’s important to delineate the traditional agriculture operations. If you’ve got things that are produced there at that agriculture operation, at that farm, that’s spread on the field, that’s pretty normal, but it’s when you’re hauling in on a regular basis, it’s not like you have a manure hauler that’s hauling in a couple of times a year and spreading, but this regular that turns it into something that is not a traditional agriculture operation because that’s not what happens on a daily basis at the farm. You don’t spread animal parts and things like that. You’re talking about the waste. It’s the kind of stuff that you’re driving by and it takes your breath away. You can barely breathe. It’s just really, really rancid.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “So what can be done here? I guess the bigger question is ‘if this is happening and there’s truck after truck after truck and we don’t know what’s going on out of these trucks, what’s the next move then?’”